Chapter 42: Is This How Forgiveness Works?
As if reading my mind Silas mumbles, “I never should have listened to Levi when he told me to stay away from you in order to protect you. I was so stupid to trust him after what he did.”
I still don’t fully understand, but his words for some reason immediately make my stomach feel knotted up.
I start to get that sick feeling again like earlier though luckily for me I have nothing left to chuck up so I just wrap the bed sheet tighter around me as it that will be some magic remedy to cure the nausea inducing anxiety I feel now.
“I wanted to apologize back then but things happened so quick and next thing I knew you were getting harassed and threatened even though you never did anything wrong. I tried to confront Levi about what he said to that girl but he just played dumb at first as if that girl just made everything up. I wanted to believe that it was all just a mistake or one big lie that had nothing to do with my brother.” Silas speaks slowly and quietly as he continues to pace back and forth in front of the bed.
I curl up more as I let go of the sheets to instead wrap my arms around my raised legs and rest my chin on my knees. My eyes stay on Silas except for when I close them tightly every now and then to try to control the wave of nausea inducing anxiety that keeps washing over me.
Silas sighs as he shakes his head. “He was always the perfect one out of the two of us. Even if I stand out more, I’ve never been as smart, capable, and mature as he is. We were born on the same day with him being born just a bit before me, yet I really did look up to him as if he was much older than me rather than being the same age.” His tone of voice suddenly sounds like he’s hurt just thinking about it.
It is true that Silas really did look up to Levi at one point. I always thought their following out was because of jealousy on Silas’ part but now I can understand that it wasn’t like that at all. I’m just realizing that even if Silas was jealous of his brother at times, he still had admired Levi and wouldn’t have distanced himself from him just over that alone.
I feel like I’m starting to understand what Silas is trying to tell me but despite that I still don’t feel prepared to hear it out loud.
It’s scary. It’s really, really scary to realize that everything I thought I knew in the last four years is being destroyed so easily and all the little things I didn’t notice before or ignored are finally clicking in my head.
As Silas continues to speak, the hurt tone from before morphs into one of irritation. His deep voice seems even deeper as he rasps out, “So, when he was lying to my face and pretending to be worried, advising me to stay away from you until everything settled down I listened. It was only after the bullying stared to get worse that I realized I had made a mistake. It was too late though because you wouldn’t even acknowledged me anymore. Suddenly it was like being replaced as he became the one who was always by your side, pretending to protect you while spreading rumors behind your back so you would continue to rely on him now that we were no longer friends.”
He stops pacing now. He moves to sit at the edge of my bed again before continuing, “When we entered high school, even though most the people from middle school also attend the same high school, the bullying seemed to just stop as if it never happened in the first place. That girl went to another high school and I hadn’t seen her since but I ran into one of her friends who was in on the bullying and she made a comment about how it seemed like no one got what they wanted except Levi. I didn’t understand it at first. Well, maybe I did but I didn’t want to admit it.”
He grows quiet now. He runs a hand through his shaggy dark blonde locks. It’s his habit when ever he feels uncomfortable. Speaking about all this must have really been hard for him.
I slowly feel the nausea start to diminish. Everything he said really bothers me and makes me feel upset. I did not want to hear it but at the same time I feel relieved now that I did. The lingering feelings of hurt and anger towards him over that situation seem to become even more numb now. While he made decision that really weren’t the best, so did everyone. We were all dumb kids who reacted on our own feelings and didn’t think of how if effected others. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that before.
“I’m sorry.” I say as I sit up straight now.
Silas looks at me with wide eyes as if shocked. “Why are you apologizing?” He asks.
I let out a sigh as I remove the sheets from around me. I scoot myself towards the edge of the bed, sitting next to him now. “I held a grudge without ever considering your perspective of what happened because I was scared that you really did use me and then abandon me when I needed you most. I mean you kind of still did but you had your own reasons… It wasn’t entirely your fault. So, I’m sorry for being so hateful towards you all these years and I forgive you. Hopefully you can forgive me too…”
He gives me that boyish grin that never ceases to make my stomach flip and my chest hurt all at once.“There’s nothing to forgive because you didn’t do anything wrong. Even when you were mad at me and saying harsh things, I could not. blame you because my feelings towards you have always outweighed those type of things.”
He then leans in close to me, his lips nearly brushing mine before I reach out my hand pushing it against his chest to keep him from coming any closer. “Stop. You saw me throwing up earlier. Last thing you should be wanting to do is kiss me. It’s gross.”
Even though I brushed my teeth so much, I still feel disgusting that he saw me throwing up like that. Not to mention that I am really not in the mood for kissing after everything that has happened recently and finding out all these things that I didn’t know until now.
Silas moves back a little so his face isn’t so close to mine, but he continues to stare at me for a moment without saying anything in response. He doesn’t even need to speak anyways because I can tell by the way he’s looking at me that he understands that I need some space right now.
I go to stand up. “I’m hungry… You want to cook me some instant noodles with egg?” I ask, changing the subject. As if to make my point about being hungry, my empty stomach lets out an angry growl.
Silas rolls his eyes but I can see the corners of his mouth tilt upwards into a smirk. “How have you lived this long not even being able to cook instant noodles?” He sounds annoyed but we both know he’s going to make me my noodles anyways.
We leave my room.
As we go down the stairs I misstep on the fifth step from the bottom. I let out a yelp as I nearly tumble down, but Silas is quick to grab me, pulling me to the side so we’re pressed up against the railing of the staircase. My feet are at the edge of the step as he balances his in the center, keeping ups both from falling.
“What the hell were you doing, you clumsy a-“ Silas started to speak in a playful tone but then suddenly stops. I can feel his body tense under me. “Wait, I didn’t feel any padding just now. Are you not wearing a bra?” He then asks quietly.
My face starts to heat up as I find the strength to balance myself on the step before I shove myself away from him. I cross my arms over my chest. “So what? Can’t a girl be bra-less in the comfort of her own home? I need to let my chest breathe, okay?” I ramble.
Silas points his finger in the direction of my chest. “Are you seriously not wearing a bra?”
I slap his hand. “Shut up and don’t point like that, you pervert. Besides if anyone should be embarrassed it’s me. You’ve been with enough girls to not be phased by this type of thing.”
Silas mumbles something under his breath.
“I said, I’m not nearly as shameless as you keep trying to make me out to be. It’s not like that at all. I never did anything past making out anyways.” He says louder this time.
I roll my eyes. “That’s so cheesy. Next are you going to say that you only ever played around because you were trying to get my attention? Trying to make me jealous?” Despite the roughness of my voice I can’t fight to urge to make this sarcastic comment.
He stares blankly at me for a moment before giving a small nod. “It didn’t work though... You just thought I was disgusting and ignored me. So, I stopped but it seems like reputations like that don’t go away.”
“Basically you’re saying you became playboy to get my attention but stopped after a while when you realized it wasn’t working anymore and started annoying me endlessly instead? That’s even more cheesy in a messed up way.” I mumble.
I can see Silas’ face flush before he turns away from me and continues down the stairs. “Shut up or I won’t put egg in with your noodles.”
“You wouldn’t dare!” I gasp out as I follow after him, unable to keep myself from smiling even just the tiniest bit.
I’m still upset when I think about everything he said regarding Levi. I also still have a lot to process but I can’t deny that having Silas here does make me feel just a little better.